Legent Bourbon, which was released in early March of this year, represents the first ever collaboration between the two primary segments of Beam Suntory; a literal representation of East meets West. The bourbon itself was distilled and aged by Jim Beam Master Distiller, Fred Noe, and was then blended by Shinji Fukuyo, the chief blender of the Japanese behemoth Suntory.
The bourbon itself is made from a historic Noe family recipe consisting of corn, rye, and malted barley. The bourbon is crafted with high-quality grains and calcium-rich, iron-free, Kentucky limestone water and is then aged for at least four years in newly charred white oak barrels. After the initial aging process, Noe finishes some of the bourbon in sherry casks for approximately 2 years, and the remainder in red wine casks for approximately 1 year. During this process, the bourbon is intended to pick up layers of spice and fruity undertones from the sherry and a light tartness from the red wine. After the aging process, Fukuyo then takes the finished bourbons and blends them together with additional Kentucky bourbon to create the finished product.
This bourbon comes in at 94 proof (47% abv) and retails for $34.99.
Appearance – light copper with reddish undertones.
Nose – there is minimal alcohol on the nose, with sweet vanilla and pecans initially. The sherry influence quickly becomes noticeable from sweet dark fruit notes, much like a rich blend of dark fruit jams. More nuttiness develops along with some cinnamon, barrel spice, and corn cereal.
Palate – despite the red wine influence on the nose, this definitely presents as more of a traditional bourbon with flavors of oak, vanilla, and caramel, along with very mild spice. However, the layers of complex fruit begin to develop quickly. There were notes of fresh red grapes along with the sweetness of dried plums and raisins. While the fruity sweetness is noticeable, it is not overpowering and blends quite well with the traditional bourbon flavors.
Finish – this bourbon left a decent mouthfeel with a very smooth, medium finish. The dried fruit sweetness started to dissipate, leaving more corn cereal, oak, barrel spice, and the classic Jim Beam nuttiness that rounded out the sip.
Overall – Admittedly, I am not usually a fan of finished bourbons. Most of the time I find these products to be too sweet and rich for my liking. However, this bourbon blend accomplishes what most cannot: it is blended perfectly to emphasize the traditional bourbon flavor profile while subtly incorporating a complex, sweet fruit profile. I really enjoyed sweet fruit notes here because they did not overpower the bourbon flavors that I enjoy. Instead, these notes present softly on the palate and fit seamlessly with the traditional bourbon flavors and classic Jim Beam nuttiness, culminating in an enjoyable sip.
It appears that Legent is going to be a permanent addition to the Beam Suntory catalog of products, and in my opinion, this bottle is going to bring them a lot of success. Not only is the story behind the creation of this bourbon very interesting, but it is a very unique approach to finishing bourbon that just works well and comes in at a perfect price point.